01. IKE IKE / 04. Hey Mr. DJ / 08. EVERYBODY DANCE / 13. AISHITERU

Back in the middle to late 90s, super eurobeat was the shit. East Asian clubheads sick of the monotonous beats of pulsating synth machines and bass beats were looking for something…a bit more. Although the genre cannot be completely accredited to the Japanese, the name surely can. When house and club remixes reigned supreme, record companies would put together special remix albums featuring trunked out versions of pop classics. Super eurobeat was only one genre among remixes riddled with techno, euro, and club influences, but managed to stand apart from the rest for its (and I hesitate to say) unique quality.

Constituting an ambient mix of rave, techno, and hyper parapara and composed almost entirely on computers with subtle references to piano, violin, or raging electric guitars, super eurobeat remixes were akin to layering vocals tweaked to incredible rates over 200 bpm sound bites and mixing it in a blender of synth confusion. Some of the most popular Japanese artists like Ayumi Hamasaki, Every Little Thing, and globe sold themselves into super eurobeat slavery, releasing compilations exclusively featuring remixes with these lightening fast dance tracks, whereupon original melodies were lost in favor of uniform chaos.

However, as all things, super eurobeat began slowly tapering off, remembered only by the dozens upon dozens of J-Super Eurobeat volumes left in its wake. This is where HINOI TEAM, super eurobeat revivalists, come in. Composed of four young girls (two are fifteen years old, the other two are sixteen) and a sporadic older gentleman who shouts random nothings (now no longer a part of the group), HINOI TEAM began releasing singles a little less than a year ago with IKE IKE and debuted their first album SUPER EURO PARTY on March 15 of this year. If anything, the album is nostalgic, hyper, and certainly gives you a sense of urgency. The album wastes no time pulling you into the parapara vibe; with a quick “Ike ike!,” the album launches into full on eurobeat.

The album is short on solos, with almost all of the verses and choruses done in unison. As far as vocal innovation or harmonies, you won’t find anything beyond the straight and narrow. Also worth mentioning is the nonstop dance party present on this CD; there are absolutely no “ballad” breaks. If you’re not careful, you might even start wondering why that song has been playing for the past twenty minutes because although it’s a nice theory, in practice, the girls are still unable to sidestep the issue that brought eurobeat down in the first place; it all sounds the same. Before long, the CD quickly becomes redundant. If played at loud volumes for too long, you may even start feeling dizzy, light-headed, nauseous…all symptoms of prolonged exposure to super eurobeat.

Overall, the disc wears out its welcome fairly quick. The sound of super eurobeat is just too expendable, testimony to the hundreds of compilations I mentioned earlier. HINOI TEAM is a group that will not make it past 2007 alive unless they evolve their sound, infuse the music with some sort of distinct quality, or perhaps alter their genre completely because honestly, there is only so much you can do with super eurobeat. And chances are, it’s been done before. While the group has managed to amass a relatively small, but loyal cult following, their debut at #33 on the charts is a fine example of their mediocrity and failure to represent more accessible and versatile music.

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